African Americans are among the largest consumers in the world, spending an average of $1.2 trillion annually. That’s according to the “It’s in the Bag: Black Consumers’ Path to Purchase” report by Nielsen. Black spending power reaches another level when you’re able to circulate it in your own communities, says Miami, Florida, entrepreneur Starex Smith.
“When we talk about the black dollar, there’s also resources tied to that,” Smith told Atlanta Black Star. “Small black businesses are the foundation of that principle.”
Smith is a young innovative entrepreneur who has made it his mission to teach youth about the importance of the Black dollar. He does just that by hiring within the urban communities where his business can be found.
“Right now we’re in Miami Gardens,” explained Smith. “This Ice Cream Heaven will have been here for one year in December.” Miami Gardens is one of the nation’s cities that reports a high crime rate, according to Macrotrends. Keeping youth off the streets of Miami Gardens and instead providing them job opportunities is a focus that’s top of mind for Smith.
“How do we now employ high school students that then matriculate to college or post secondary education on entrepreneurship,” while also, he said, leaving “that space with knowledge, skills and ability.”
Ice Cream Heaven has received support from customers in and around the community.
This support has given Ice Cream Heaven the ability to expand to other locations in South Florida.
“We have another shop opening up in Overtown this December,” said Smith.
Overtown is also a predominately Black neighborhood that is quickly revitalizing with the help of new business savvy people like Smith.
“There’s a level of cultural competency and intelligence that goes into being purposed on how you spend your dollar and how that works with building communities and civil engagement and, more importantly, creating economic hubs,” he said.
Ice Cream Heaven only uses Black suppliers as well. One manufacturer has expanded into retail because of Smith’s support.
“He’s hired 14 people, I have seven people, and we are hiring another seven people. So when you start seeing that growth it just creates this amazing cyclical reality,’ Smith said.
Smith expressed that seeing growth in his employees and his company helps to motivate him to continue inspiring others to create black wealth for themselves and for their communities.